Hancock Coal is about to commence work on a temporary bulk coal sample project at its Alpha Coal tenement approximately 60km north-west of the town of Alpha. The bulk sample project plays an important role in securing the long-term viability of the two proposed future coal projects, Alpha Coal and Kevin’s Corner.
Hancock’s Bulk Sample Project will employ approximately 70 people and extract up to 450,000 tonnes of thermal coal from the bulk sample pit site near Alpha, with the first stage being 120,000 tonnes. As part of the project, Hancock will wash the coal prior to export.
Hancock’s current plan is for the transportation of coal by truck from Alpha to an offsite coal preparation plant near Blackwater for washing, before trucking to an en route rail loading facility for rail transport to the coal terminal near Gladstone. The road transportation component of the project will take approximately four months starting early in 2011. All loads will be covered as an added measure. The transportation by road will only apply to the Bulk Sample Project. Future projects, Alpha Coal and Kevin’s Corner operations will rely on the proposed Alpha to Abbot Point railway line.
Mr Paul Mulder, Managing Director of Hancock Coal announced the appointment of Thiess as the Bulk Sample Pit operator, and Wagners as the transport contractor. “Both companies place safety and the environment as key priorities” Mr Mulder said. A full road impact assessment report and comprehensive road use management plan have been prepared in consultation with the Department of Transport and Main Roads as well as the Barcaldine Regional Council. Mr Mulder acknowledged the concerns some community members may have around increased truck traffic, but stressed, when the Alpha Coal and Kevin’s Corner mines are operational, all product coal will be transported by rail from the site through to the port of Abbot Point.
“Hancock wants to assure the communities along the transport route that effective planning and mitigation strategies are in place and we will closely monitor environmental and safety performance including road conditions during this temporary operation”.